Daily Archives: March 23, 2022

Better Days

Last May, when I went in for an annual medical check-up, they found a large tumor attached to my uterus. The doctor, through a translator app, told me it was 6.7cm in diameter and would need to be removed immediately. Unsure of whether I should trust a doctor I couldn’t communicate with, I booked an appointment with a specialist a week later who, luckily, spoke English. She confirmed that I would need surgery soon. Dread and fear sank in. I had to undergo my first major surgery in Korea, where I don’t speak the language and don’t have any family support, and it had to happen soon.

The surgery happened in the beginning of July, shortly after school finished. Gail, a dear friend, offered to help and spent every day in the hospital with me. Without her, I’m not sure what I would have done. The surgery was successful (tumor was benign), however while they were in there, the doctor found loads of endometriosis lesions all over my uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. He “cleaned it all up” but said if not treated, it would soon return, causing more issues. Endometriosis explains the pain and issues I’ve had for most of my life.

Without much warning, I had to make a decision about treatment, which was pretty much do the treatment or don’t do it and have the lesions return. The treatment meant I couldn’t have children…at least not for a few years anyway…but I’d just turned 40 and am single, so I figured that ship had sailed anyway. I opted for the treatment, which began just before I went back to school. The treatment consists of three months of hormone shots (high dose, once a month) followed by two years of daily endometriosis hormone pills. The doctor warned me that hormone shots would throw me into forced menopause and I would have hot flashes and my periods would become irregular and eventually stop.

I was ready for the hot flashes, which would come at the most inopportune times, but I wasn’t prepared for the other symptoms. The first issue was the crying. It was spontaneous, uncontrollable, and came on for no reason. It was so embarrassing at work. Here I am, a leader, trying to lead orientation with my teachers, and I’d start crying. They must have thought I was so unstable. Then the panic attacks began, again out of the blue and at inconvenient times (Is there ever a convenient time to have a panic attack?). However, the worst thing was the insomnia. I can remember being dead tired, willing myself to sleep, crying from exhaustion, yet the sleep wouldn’t come. I tried melatonin and sleep music and lavender oil diffusers and praying and a new nighttime routine, but I only managed a few hours a night. Through all this, I felt like I was going crazy. I was at my wit’s end and didn’t know what to do.

When I went in for my first monthly check-up and told my doctor about my symptoms, he said I was having an adverse reaction to the treatment, which had caused me to develop depression and anxiety. He said I needed to stick it out and it would eventually get better, but when you’re in the thick of it, you can’t see a way out. I was in a really dark place and didn’t recognize myself. I had never experienced mental illness firsthand before. Through this whole ordeal, I developed so much empathy for people who live with mental illness; it’s worse than any physical pain I’ve ever experienced. I can remember crying to the doctor, begging for him to trade me my old physical pain for my new emotional pain. But by then, it was too late.

Music has always been my go to for any emotion. Happy? Play upbeat music and dance around. Angry? Play angsty music on high to work it out. Sad? Play sappy music and cry it out. During my depression and anxiety period, I found a few songs that spoke to me and helped articulate how I felt or how I wanted to feel, and I played them on repeat. One of those songs was Dermot Kennedy’s “Better Days.” I can remember driving around, alone, blasting this song from my speakers, as I sang along, tears streaming down my face. He promises, “Better days are comin’, if no one told you. I hate to hear you cryin’…” and “I know you’ve been hurtin’ waiting on a train that just won’t come.” and “The rain, it ain’t permanent, and soon we’ll be dancin’ in the sun.” and “Your story’s gonna change, just wait for better days.” His words, the promise of better days coming, got me through some of my darkest days.

I’m happy to report that the depression and anxiety did eventually subside, just like the doctor said it would. I think the better days have come.

I love this live performance of the song…it’s a little different than the original, but the interpretive dance adds so much to the lyrics.

Better Days

Better days are comin’
If no one told you
I hate to hear you cryin’
Over the phone, dear
For seven years runnin’
You’ve been a soldier
But better days are comin’
Better days are comin’ for you

So when the night feels like forever
(Mh-mh)
I’ll remember what you said to me

I know you’ve been hurtin’
Waitin’ on a train that just won’t come
The rain, it ain’t permanent
And soon, we’ll be dancin’ in the sun
We’ll be dancin’ in the sun
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)

We never miss the flowers
Until the sun’s down
We never count the hours
Until they’re runnin’ out
You’re on the other side of the storm now
You should be so proud
And better days are comin’
Better days are comin’ for you

So when the night feels like forever
(Mh-mh)
I’ll remember what you said to me

I know you’ve been hurting (is our time ever soothing?)
Waiting on a train that just won’t come
The rain, it ain’t permanent (is our time ever soothing?)
And soon, we’ll be dancing in the sun
We’ll be dancing in the sun
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)

Your story’s gonna change
Just wait for better days
You’ve seen too much of pain
Now, you don’t even know
That your story’s gonna change
Just wait for better days
I promise you, I won’t let go

I know you’ve been hurting
Waiting on a train that just won’t come
The rain, it ain’t permanent (is our time ever soothing?)
And soon, we’ll be dancing in the sun
We’ll be dancing in the sun
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)
And we’ll sing your song together (eh-eh, eh-eh)